Our CI Team – Administrative Staff
Dr. Xuejun (Jim) Yu
Director of the Confucius Institute at Miami Dade College
Dr. Jim Yu is the Director of the Confucius Institute at Miami Dade College. He assumed his current position in June of 2010 and since then has been responsible for the College’s expansion of Chinese language and culture class offerings and the increased presence of China at arts and culture events of national prominence. He holds a B.A. in Chinese language and literature from Jiangxi University, an M.A. in communication from the University of Hawaii, and a Ph.D. in international communication from the University of Florida. Additionally, he has also completed advanced studies at Fudan University in Shanghai and held a Parvin Fellowship at the East-West Center in Honolulu. His previous academic appointments include teaching Chinese language, culture, and communication at Jiangxi University (China), the University of Florida, Stetson University, and the University of Central Florida.
Dr. Yu is widely recognized as an accomplished community leader. In the fields of cultural entertainment and international education–where he has served as a business executive–he holds an extensive track record of successful Chinese culture programming. He has worked with major US corporations and universities, international cultural festivals, and Asian community events throughout the USA. For his achievements in the academic, cultural and community service arenas he has received awards from organizations such as the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication, the Broadcast Education Association and the Federation of Florida Chinese Associations.
Outside of the Institute, he currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Asian American Advisory Board of Miami–Dade County, the Chinese Culture Foundation (Miami), and as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Contemporary Chinese School of South Florida (Miami Campus).
Dr. Wenghui (Ernest) Zhang
Chinese Co–Director of the Confucius Institute at Miami Dade College
Dr. Ernest Zhang is the Chinese co-director of the Confucius Institute, where he serves since 2010, as the official representative of Jiangsu Normal University: the Chinese institution that partnered with Miami Dade College to found the Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Translation Studies from Nankai University’s Department of English Language and Literature and has published over a dozen articles in various academic journals. Among them, he’s the author of The Translation Model and its Evaluation of Metaphors in the Chinese Translation of English Novels from the Perspective of Cognitive Linguistics.
Prior to his current position at the Institute, Dr. Zhang served as vice dean of the School of Foreign Studies at Xuzhou Normal University and as secretary general of Xuzhou’s Academic Society of Translators and Interpreters. He currently chairs a research project in translation studies and, since 2007, counts with China’s National Administrative Office for Social Sciences and Humanities Studies as his sponsor.
Among his responsibilities at the Institute, Dr. Zhang coordinates various educational and cultural activities and oversees the administration of the two major Chinese language proficiency tests offered at Miami Dade College – the HSK & the YCT. He’s also an avid photographer and committedly serves as the Institute’s documentarian to record the impact of CI through its year–round events. Dr. Zhang knows four languages–Chinese, English, Japanese and German (reading)–and enjoys cooking and international travel during his spare time.
Ms. Katherine Irene Céspedes
Director´s Project Management Assistant
Katherine Irene Cespedes is the Director’s Project Management Assistant and one of the overseers of the daily operations of the Confucius Institute at Miami Dade College. She is in charge of researching for the director’s programs, facilitating external community partnerships, ideating new venues of growth and expansion for the institute’s educational and cultural programs as well as carrying internal projects to completion. She serves as a liaison between the director and the student body and as a collateral aid to those already working with the director on existing projects. She joined the Institute with the intention to expand the organization’s outreach to underserved communities. In particular she is interested in increasing the access of low–income students to an international education and the enrichment that results from foreign language instruction and cultural events participation.
To enhance her work at the Institute, she draws from her diverse community engagements and public service commitments. She is a steering committee member at Philanthrofest (an annual community services expo and development platform for non–profit organizations), a community board member at DocMiami International Film Festival (a non–profit festival featuring the best in documentaries and fundraiser event for social–causes), a student–mentor at Take Stock in Children (a college–readiness organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap for first–generation students) and a dancer at Osundara Yoruba Dance Theater (a cultural preservation organization).
Katherine loves the traditional arts of cultures worldwide and loves exploring the world through people, music, dance, cuisine, visual arts, philosophy and spirituality. She is a suma cum laude graduate from the International Baccalaureate Program and a merit scholar graduate from Dartmouth College, where she received a B.A in Philosophy with a focus on Ethics.